With the help of some extra inning heroics by Kevin Youkilis, the Boston Red Sox were able to avoid being swept in a three game series at Fenway Park for the first time since Aug. 2006. Youkilis belted his 2nd home run of the game in the bottom of the 13th inning off of St. Louis’ reliever Mike Parisi (0-3) to propel the Red Sox past the Cardinals 5-3 in Sunday’s interleague match up.
The Sox had plenty of extra-inning opportunities but could not capitalize on them until Youkilis delivered the game winning shot with no outs in the 13th frame. In the 10th, 11th and 12th innings, Sox hitters led off with doubles but could not push across the winning run. The homer was Youkilis’ 13th on the season.
“I knew I hit it really well and I thought it would get out but you never know here sometimes,” Youkilis said. “You can’t beat it. I think it was even more exciting when you have a 13-inning game. You just want to get out of here. That always makes it a lot better of a home run.”
Both teams starting pitchers threw well enough to win but neither factored into the decision.
For St. Louis, Joel Pineiro hurled seven innings and allowed seven hits and only two earned runs. Jon Lester’s performance for Boston was just as impressive. He threw seven and a third innings, allowing nine hits and two earned runs while striking out three in his outing. Lester’s has not allowed more then three earned runs in a game during his last 11 appearances.
The Cardinals would open up the scoring in the 6th inning plating two runs on four hits. Youkilis would then smack his first homer on the day in the 7th inning to cut the lead in half making the score 2-1.
Boston would then take the lead by scoring two more in the bottom of the 8th inning to go ahead 3-2. Coco Crisp led off with a triple and was driven in on a Julio Lugo sac-fly to knot the game at 2-2. Dustin Pedroia would connect on a two-out single and then J.D. Drew and Manny Ramirez would walk to load the bases. Mike Lowell followed suit and walked to drive in the go ahead run.
“When you get in one of those games—at least when you’re playing at home — you always feel like you have the last at-bat,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “We led three innings off with doubles, start the runner on second (and) couldn’t score. Maybe that’s what it takes is somebody running the ball out of the ballpark.”
Jonathan Papelbon entered the game in the 9th inning trying to record his 22nd save of the season but was unable to close the door. After making quick work of Rick Ankiel and Yadier Molina with strike outs, Papelbon issued a two out walk to Chris Duncan. Pinch hitter Adam Kennedy would then connect on an RBI double to even the score at 3-3.
“Just a hellacious game. It’s one of those things that makes you enjoy this level of competition,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “Both clubs had chances for a lot of heroics to get something going. A lot of heroics to stop them. What a great competition.”
The Cardinals had a great opportunity to take the lead in the 11th inning by loading the bases with three singles off of Sox reliever Hideki Okajima. Francona pulled Okajima to put in Craig Hansen to deal with the jam. He was able to come in and strike out Ryan Ludwick to record the final out of the inning.
Javier Lopez recorded the final two outs in the top of the 13th inning and picked up the victory. Lopez is 2-0 on the season with a 2.45 ERA.
The Sox now welcome the Arizona Diamondbacks to Fenway Park for the final interleague play series of the summer. Arizona currently sits atop to very weak NL West division with a 39-37 record, 3 ½ games ahead of the LA Dodgers. Since May 18th the D-Backs have struggled with an 11-18 record and have dropped three straight.
Boston will send Josh Beckett to the hill in the series opener. Beckett is 2-0 in the month of June and is coming off a dominant performance of seven shutout innings against the Reds on Jun 15th. He is also 4-0 this season at Fenway Park.
“I just want to go out there and do what I’m supposed to do, go deep into games,” Beckett told the Red Sox’s official Web site.
Dan Haren will take the mound and try to stop the hurting for Arizona. Haren shares the same regular season record as Beckett at 7-4 with a slightly better ERA at 3.26. In his last outing he cruised to a win in Arizona’s 11-1 win over the Oakland Athletics. In that game, Haren tossed seven innings of four hit ball, striking out eight.
Tonight’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm.
Kevin Youkilis blasted his 4th homerun in as many days to help the Boston Red Sox capture a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers last night at Comerica Park. Youkilis came into the Detroit series with 3 homers on the season and leaves Motown with 7 round trippers, and the Tigers pitching and coaching staff couldn’t be happier to see him leave town.
“Our entire staff did a poor, poor job the entire series against Youkilis,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “Not with the thought process but executing pitches. We just gave him cookie after cookie and he just beat our brains out.”
Justin Verlander was the most recent culprit to surrender a Youkilis blast, giving up the two-run bomb in the 5th inning, putting the Sox ahead 5-1, a lead that Josh Beckett would make hold up for his 4th win of the season. Verlander falls to 1-6 on the year and his ERA rises up to 6.43.
For the second consecutive start Beckett looked very comfortable on the mound and the outcome relayed this feeling as he was able to mix in all of his pitches throughout the night with ease.
“I made pitches when I needed them, and that’s what it boils down to,” Beckett said. “If I hadn’t been able to make a couple key pitches, I would have given up a lot more runs. I had all four pitches working when I needed them, and that’s big.”
Over 7 innings of work, Beckett allowed 1 run on 6 hits while striking out 8 Tigers. Along the way he recorded his 1,000th career strike out en route to the victory. Craig Hansen relieved Beckett and pitched a perfect 8th while Manny Delcarmen recorded all three outs in the 9th.
The Sox recorded 13 hits on the night led by a 3 hit performance by Coco Crisp while Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and Mike Lowell all chipped in with 2 hits respectively. Ortiz now has an 8 game hitting streak and has raised his average 55 percentage points over that time.
Boston took three of the four games in Detroit and squandered the possible sweep with an unusual blown save on Wednesday night by Jonathan Papelbon. The team now travels to Minnesota for a four game set against the Twins who are currently in first place on the AL Central Division with a record of 17-16. Over the past ten games both clubs are playing extremely good baseball. The Sox are 8-2 over that period while the Twins are 7-3.
Tonight’s pitching match up features Jon Lester of the Sox going against Boof Bonser of the Twins. Over his last two starts, Lester has looked very impressive hurling 14 innings while only allowed 1 earned run and striking out 11 opponents. Lester is 2-2 on the season with a 3.94 ERA and has never started in Minnesota.
Bonser is coming off a no decision against the Tigers on May 4th where he allowed 6 runs on 8 hits over 6 innings. He is 2-4 on the season with a 4.29 ERA. He has never faced many of the Red Sox starters, including Youkilis who has never homered at the Metrodome but still looks to stay hot in Minnesota.
The scheduled first pitch tonight is at 8:10pm EST.
- Curt Schilling threw long toss before Thursdays game, completing 25 tosses of about 60 feet in length. There is still no estimated return for Schilling who began the season on the 60-Day DL.
- On Tuesday night, Tim Wakefield and Mike Timlin became the first pair of 40 + year old pitchers to combine for a shutout since 1990 in the Sox 5-0 win over Detroit.
- Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, Craig Hanson and Clay Buchholtz are all currently on the Red Sox official 40-man roster. This is the first time in the 43-year history of the amateur draft that an organization has moved its top 4 picks from the same draft (2005) onto the roster at the same time within 3 years of having been drafted.
For the third time in four games, the Boston Red Sox overcame an early deficit to pull out a 7-6 victory in last night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Trailing 5-1 going into the bottom of the 4th, the Sox rallied to tie the score in the 5th inning, capped by a Kevin Youkilis two-run homer that landed in the heart of the Monster Seats.
In a game that had the potential to be a stellar pitching match up, Red Sox starter Josh Beckett was scratched from the lineup a few hours before the scheduled first pitch with soreness in his neck. David Pauley was pulled up from Triple-A Pawtucket to make the spot start in his absence and lasted 4 1/3 innings allowing 5 runs on 7 hits.
Angels starter Jered Weaver allowed a leadoff homerun to Jacoby Ellsbury but settled down after his club put 3 runs up on the board in the 3rd inning. Weaver looked dominant in the bottom half of the 3rd striking out the side in Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Angels catcher Jeff Mathis added 2 more runs on his 3rd homer of the year in the 4th.
Boston found themselves in a familiar situation, down by a few runs and in need of some clutch hitting to pull out a win. Luckily for them, that hasn’t been a problem.
“We didn’t quit,” Pedroia said. “They had a lead. We strung together at-bats.”
The rally began with a Julio Lugo RBI single in the 4th that knocked home left-fielder J.D. Drew to make the score 5-2 in favor of Anaheim. Lugo has now hit safely in the last 8 games, recording 14 hits and raising his average to .324 on the year.
Julian Tavarez relieved Pauley in the 5th and was able to force Tori Hunter of the Angels to ground into an inning ending double play, giving the Sox some momentum heading into their at bat.
Pedroia kept it going by leading of the inning blasting a double to right center field that Vlad Guerrero made a play on but the ball hit the webbing in his glove, popped out and was ruled a hit. Ortiz then singled through the shift to center field knocking in Pedroia to cut the lead to 5-3. Ramirez was up next and nearly tied the game with a shot down the right field line, that almost found its way into the stands behind Pesky’s Pole, but Guerrero redeemed himself making a great catch on the run that took away a homerun from Manny.
However, no one was catching Kevin Youkilis’s bomb over the wall into the Monster Seats that tied the game at 5-5. The shot made the Fenway Faithful forget all about Josh Beckett being scratched from his start
“Baseball isn’t a one-man game. It’s different guys every game,” said Kevin Youkilis. “There’s a lot of times when Josh will pitch well. There’s times when we’re going to need to score some runs for him.”
Jacoby Ellsbury cracked his second solo homerun of the game in the 6th inning giving the Sox the 6-5 lead which would hold for only an inning before the Angels Casey Kotchman belted a solo shot into the right field stands, tying the game at 6-6.
In the bottom of the 8th, Ellsbury got things going again reaching base on a bunt single. Pedroia then ripped a double to left for his fourth hit on the night, and Ellsbury scored all the way from first giving the Sox a 7-6 lead that would hold up. Jonathan Papelbon came in and pitched a perfect 9th inning to record his 8th save on the season. The closer’s fastball peaked at 100mph during his impressive performance.
The win is the Sox 6th in a row and puts them at 15-7 overall on the season, good enough for the best record in the American League. What makes that record stand out even more is the fact that they’ve been winning with Mike Lowell on the DL, Josh Beckett already missing two starts, Curt Schilling not playing (although that may be a good thing) and David Ortiz’s early season struggles.
When it comes down to it, good teams find a way to win. The Boston Red Sox aren’t making excuses; they’re simply going out and playing hardball each night with the mentality that they’re in every single game until the last out is made. They’re winning as a unit, and it seems like each game there’s a different hero delivering the knock out punch.
These are all signs of a good team, and the best part, they continue to get better and better each night.
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